G is for General Manager

The Edmonton Oilers have a GM. His name is Peter Chiarelli.

Though you can be forgiven for not knowing that, given how often it seems like it’s the Edmonton media that’s driving the decisions for the Oilers. Not only that, but no matter how poorly the team does, or how badly the decisions turn out, it’s never management’s fault.

Is it that Edmonton’s hockey media is out of touch? No, it’s the players who are to blame.*

And so here we are. As the Edmonton Oilers careen toward another disastrous season, Edmonton’s blamestream media is looking for new targets.

Having already run Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, among a host of others, out of town, Edmonton’s hockey men have set their sights on Connor McDavid and Oskar Klefbom as their newest targets for criticism. God forbid they lay any blame at the people making the decisions. You know, like the actual GM that has frittered away much of his lottery winnings and appears determined on being broke again within five years.

But hey, who am I to criticize Chiarelli and his roster building skills, right? I mean, he’s an NHL GM and I’m just a keyboard warrior spilling pixels on the Internet.

That, of course, has never stopped the Edmonton media from making the roster decisions for the Oilers, though. But hey, I’m certainly no professional hockey writer, either. You can tell because I wouldn’t be able to come up with a segue like this if I banged on my keyboard for 1,000 years:

I dare say, this is definitely an interesting twist on the Moneyball anecdote about the baseball scouts taking into account the attractiveness of a prospect’s girlfriend. Looks like hockey scouts are going to have to start documenting the occupation of hockey players’ parents.

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But I hope I don’t get in trouble for that tweet. Because if there’s one thing Edmonton’s hockey media can’t abide, it’s any kind of pushback:

As a group, the Edmonton hockey men are some of the most vocal on twitter when it comes to taking on those pesky bloggers. If only they were so willing to take on the decisions made by Oilers management over the years. Instead, they continuously carry water for the team, and typically single out the more skilled players, while giving the “character” guys a free pass.

This was never more apparent than in the last two weeks. First Tim Pannacio dropped this quote from Jordan Eberle talking about how his treatment at the hands of the Edmonton media affected his confidence:

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Now, I happen to think that as a professional, you need to put those kinds of things behind you and just go out there and play hockey. The confidence will be fine when you start getting a few bounces and pucks start going in the net. So while I don’t necessarily put as much weight on the actual impact of media comments on players’ on-ice performance, I do think the coverage has a rhetorical effect on both fans and the front office. Eventually, those repeated hot takes about players’ compete levels, or character, or leadership, or knowing how to win, start to become ingrained as reality.

Heck, even the media members themselves like to pretend they’re in charge:

But whether you agree with this or not, one thing is definitely clear. Whether it’s bloggers, Twitter users, or even professional hockey players, Edmonton’s hockey media sure can dish it out, but they can’t take it:

Talk about mentally weak.

I mean, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that there would be so many precious snowflakes in Edmonton at this time of year:

Anyway, despite the lengths these guys will go to blame a select few players in an effort to absolve the GM of any guilt for the Oilers’ troubles, they will go to the same, or even more extreme lengths, to protect certain other players for the same reason. And just to drive a point home, less than a week after the Eberle uproar, Kris Russell scored on his own net and all hell broke loose as keyboard warriors climbed over themselves for a chance to defend his honour against the hordes of “analytics nerds” raking him over the coals for it.

The strange thing was, other than a little ha-ha finger pointing from opposing fans, there was very little criticism of Russell for that specific play:

Sure, there’s been plenty of criticism of Russell for his overall play and of Chiarelli, ironically for trading away Eberle at cents on the dollar just so that he could sign Russell over the summer. But none of it was for scoring on his own net. Heck, if anything, “analytics nerds” discount goals and focus on shot-based metrics for this very reason! Bad bounces happen, and you shouldn’t base any decisions solely on random or rare occurrences.

Oh well, at least we all had a good laugh. And maybe I had this all wrong. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the Edmonton media aren’t playing at GM. No, they’re playing at something much more noble. They’re out there saving the boys-on-the-bus’ bacon every day, driving the dusty streets out of little Edmonton, Alta.:




* does not apply to Kris Russell


    • Canuck4Life20

      Canucks Army is in a battle right now with any and all takers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan, a member of the media, or a know-nothing GM who should be fired on the spot, no one is safe from the Ire of the Army.

    • Chris the Curmudgeon

      I think these are crossposted, no? Though that should definitely be mentioned if so. I still enjoyed reading it, as like most Canucks fans I relish any opportunity for schadenfreude when it comes to the Oilers.

    • Vchiu

      Canuck’s fans love watching the oilers burn. I know its my favourite pastime. Last year was the worst. Couldn’t even say “at least we’re better than the oilers.” Lot of games left but here’s hoping we stay above them

  • defenceman factory

    Not hard to find evidence of inept Oiler management or ridiculous opinion pieces supporting them. Kinda fun to tease oiler fans about it.

    I think CA writers shouldn’t be throwing stones. There are numerous poorly done take down pieces on this site. Given JD’s hissy fit over criticism for not posting anything on development camp and this author’s inability to let go of the stupid “200 hockey men” comment their skin isn’t very thick either.

    • NeverWas

      But it’s so easy and so much fun to make fun of Edmonton… with all the “luck” not only at the lottery but with the quality of the draft some years… combined that with the fact they were self appointed “contenders” this year aaaahhhhahahaha. It’s hysterical and I’m going to keep pointing and laughing like I have for the past 11 out of 12 years. If you bet against Edmonton like I do, they virtually never let you down!!! It’s awesome!!!! Hahaha

      • Jabs

        The Oilers may as well trade their first round picks before the draft rather than drafting a player and getting their hopes up and then eventually trading him as a bust. It just makes things quicker that way.

  • Spiel

    Eberle thinks the Edmonton media is tough? That is laughable. Edmonton has some of the biggest homers and cheerleaders out there.

    Montreal is truly a tough media market.
    Toronto and Vancouver are much more negative in tone than anything that comes out of Edmonton.
    The Sedin “sisters” moniker came from a Vancouver radio personality back in the day and it stuck even through Art Ross trophy seasons.
    When Luongo was here, every time the Canucks lost, there was a comment about Luongo and a soft goal. You know the goalie who is the all time franchise leader in wins, shutouts and sits 4th all-time in the NHL in wins.
    A negative tone is a given and is the fan expectation in Vancouver.

  • Wise Canuck

    Could do with a piece similar to this on his old underling Benning, seeing as it’s a Canucks site… you know, the draft guru who has pulled ONE decent player out of the hat in his first three drafts (20 players).

    The hockey lifer scout who passed on picking three of at least a DOZEN available franchise changing, NHL studs (Larkin, Sergachev, Tkachuk, Keller, Ehlers ‘or’ Nylander too name a few)… in favour of Virtanen, McCann and Juloevi!

    The great ‘trader’ Jim who gave away Forsling, McCann and Bonino plus extra draft picks for bags of pucks.

    Yep, the Boston model GM who was gifted a 110 point playoff roster and made it into a perennial bottom feeder… can’t wait to see the pie chart of that, made out of custard.

    Still, he deserves an extension eh lol

    • Drancer the Prancer

      “the draft guru who has pulled ONE decent player out of the hat in his first three drafts”

      “The great ‘trader’ Jim who gave away Forsling, McCann”

      This is what JD does instead of writing postgame recaps of Canucks victories.


    • bobdaley44

      Hahaha gave away Forsling and Mcann? Ya franchise changing those players you mentioned. I could go through them all but don’t wanna waste my time. Bonino? A slow skating centre when the games getting faster. Have a look at his D coverage and you’ll see why he was expendable. Wise? Don’t think so.

    • DJ_44

      Should we feed PQW?

      I see you are altering your tired narrative as more of your previous falsehoods you have professed as ” FACT ” as no longer tenable, even for you.

      Draft guru? Benning and Co, in there first three drafts will have drafted 8 players that will player over 200 games St the NHL level, with 2 more that have a decent shot at obtaining that milestone. That is a 50% clip. Throw in the amazing 2017 draft class (conveniently no longer in your evaluation), and he will be over 50%. No team in the league over that time period will be close to that proficiency.

      I get it… A short and irrelevant timeframe fits your narrative. The problem is the more the players brought into the Canucks system play and develop, the weaker-to-the-point-of-irrelevancy you tiresome posts become.

      Enjoy your time while it lasts.

      • Oil Slick 99

        Really? Canucks fans think draft picks who end up playing on other teams count as successes for the GM who chose em and then got rid lol. That’s hilarious man. Only a canuck or lames fan would be that dumb.

        • Bud Poile

          “Canucks fans think draft picks who end up playing on other teams count as successes for the GM ….” Oil Slick Dud
          Draft picks are tradeable assets.
          Canucks are 14th overall in the league tonight.
          Arizona,Florida,Edmonton and Buffalo are at the very bottom.
          Which team is rebuilding the quickest ?
          Which GM inherited empty cupboards?
          Benning looks like a fricken genius in comparison to these franchises.

          • Wide Awake in Ubud

            Another day… more hypocritical drivel from the patthetic lying serial troll Bud/Green/Locust… “Draft picks are tradeable assets.”

            “Those draft picks translate into Vey, Etem and Gudbrandson. The only one I’d concede is the Prust trade, but the others seem like a decent bet. Great asset management.” Bud P

            “The Canucks are over paying for the assets they are acquiring. The Sutter trade is a good example. They trade Bonino, Clendening and a 2nd for Sutter and are paying him double Bonino’s salary. Is Sutter worth 2x’s Bonino?” Bud P

            “I wished Jim Benning would have retained and listened to Gilman.” Bud P

            Bi-polar much?!… could you explain the laughable hypocrisy (trolling) Bud/Green/Locust

        • Silverback

          Due to the fact that you are an oilers fan, you have abrogated your right to comment on issues of draft picks owing to the oilers history over the last 10 years.

    • Van94

      I know my heart is still broken over that McCann trade. What a gem we lost. Forsling has racked up an attention grabbing THIRTEEN points so far and I am expecting another thirteen in the next couple of years. We got a very necessary shutdown center and face off man. And yes Benning is getting an extension. Seeing the team third in the west might make your rant less appealing for some; but you carry on, dont let results ruin your story. I am sure sure you would have stuck with that 110 point team, and now it would be you getting an extension,right? Think how dissapointed you would be if you were an Oilers fan. Oh hey you are an Oilers fan arent you? Its looking like youre getting another first,,,,,,,, just a suggestion,,, go for Rasmus Dahlin.

    • Van94

      Another lost Oilers fan. Dont worry Rasmus Dhalin will solve all your problems. And when youve ruined his career there will be more number one picks year after patheitic year

  • Freud

    Replace “Edmonton Media” with “CA message board regulars” and the story remains the same….

    Not surprisingly, some are applauding this piece while too obtuse to see the irony.

    • Canuck4Life20

      Irony. Kind of like you who talks down to everyone and contributes nothing to the actual conversation about the Canucks commenting on an article that does the same thing?

      The regular readers on this site can see this article for exactly what is is. Just another shot at any and all perceived enemies of the advanced stats community by a group of authors that would rather troll their own readership than improve the quality of the content that they produce.

  • You see, what the Oilers are missing is a battle cry. Canucks players have goal songs, Oilers need a battle cry.

    Connor McDavid, like Zena Warrior Princess, does this skating over the blueline: Ayiyiiyiyiyiyi

    Leon Draisaitl is Gabrielle. Ayiyiiyiyiyiyi


  • Oilers fans are so obtuse, it’s pointless to reason with them or mock them. Winning Connor McDavid (i.e. Wayne Gretzky Part 2) was the worst thing that could have happened to the NHL. First, it gives Oilers fans a reason to chirp off about how “great” their team is even though it’s crap. (Well done, PC, on taking a boatload of blue-chip 1st rounders and turning them into nothing.) Second, we’re going to see an amazing player in McDavid fail to reach his full potential because Edmonton thinks one guy is a team. He has no help other than Draisaitl and RNH, he’s surrounded by bottom 6 forwards, bottom 4 defenders, and back-up goaltenders.

  • Drancer the Prancer

    But the Oilers are an elite possession team:


    How come the “objective science-first” basement bloggers don’t attribute that to Pete Chiarelli?

    All the bloggers seem to forget correlation-does-not-equal-causation when discussing the Canucks ascent under the Mike Gillis regime…


  • Vchiu

    Canuck’s fans love watching the oilers burn. I know its my favourite pastime. Last year was the worst. Couldn’t even say “at least we’re better than the oilers.” Lot of games left but here’s hoping we stay above them